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Structural Integration Bodywork
for Increased Physical and Mental
Well Being



by Lou Gross, School Certified Master Postural Integrator
27 years successful track record
For more information & free consultations, call 321-726-9083 EST   GMT-5

"Fast" Scanning:  Read Bold Black, Blue & Red

          This book is organized in four sections. The first two describe the treatment and what it can do for you. The third gives you information pertaining to getting the treatment. And the fourth compares the treatment with other therapies and explains how they're complementary.
          The section and chapter titles are very descriptive. So you can see what's in the book just by reviewing the table of contents.


        I describe the method of Structural Integration Bodywork in two phases.
         Section I describes the treatment as a therapy to remove tightness in different parts of the body. That's a good frame of reference to start with because that's what most people are familiar with.
         Section II describes the treatment in how it creates a new organization, or alignment, in the
whole body, from head to toe. This is a new concept for most people.
        So Section II is written as an extension of Section I, and a lot of what I say in Section I prepares you for Section II

        At the beginning of each Section there's a short introduction that leads you into the chapter text
. It tells you what you're going to read about. At the end of each Section, a short conclusion links you from that Section to the next one. There are also comments at the end of a chapter that introduce the next chapter.
        This book goes into detail and covers many points. It should be able to help a lot of people. But it addresses audiences with different levels of familiarity about the subject
, and with different degrees of interest toward reading a large amount of text. So I've designed the book with these considerations in mind.
        Anyone who wants to read or study it in its entirety may want to go straight through, with the whole text, from front to back
. Bodyworkers would probably fall into this category. But they might also want to flip ahead and give it a scan.
        Many people won't have time to read the whole text right away. This is a book that can be used to interest people in the work by sending or giving it to them. Or they might buy it themselves if they think it's a fast read. Professional athletes, their coaches and trainers, and business and government executives might fall into this category. In fact, managers are used to receiving summaries.
        So I've written the book in a way that it can be summarized.
Yet it'll still give the reader a very good understanding of the material, just not as much as when they read the whole text. It can also be summarized to different degrees of detail. This kind of flexibility has already been appreciated by many people.
        One way to summarize is to start with the 10-page Introduction and Overview
. Read that and you learn a lot. This will also help newcomers to the Bodywork field; they'll understand what the book's going to tell them.
       Also, you'll notice that at the beginning of many paragraphs the text is bold-italic and underlined. This text is a sub-book contained within the whole book. It cuts the size down by over 50%.
All these sentences flow with each other, and they flow as part of the whole text, too. They cover the points very clearly, yet eliminate a lot of details you can get lost in.  If you read just these lines in Sections I and II, you'll understand almost all of what the treatment does, since the last two sections are more focused on telling you how to use it. This cuts the reading to 25%.
        You can also summarize the Introduction and Overview, which will give you the gist of how Structural Integration can help you, in just four pages worth
. That's nice when you're browsing in the bookstore.


        This section looks at the treatment as a therapy, just as massage and other forms of physical medicine are therapies. It explains how this treatment, which I refer to as "the Bodywork," corrects the problems due to accumulated shortness and tightness better than other methods because of the hands-on method it uses and the whole body, interconnected approach it takes. It provides in-depth information and treatment tips for other body practitioners including other Structural Integrators.

Chapter 1:  The Basics: How Muscles Work &
                     How Connective Tissue Plays Its Part

        Muscles are really bundles of long thin muscles fibers surrounded by and held together with a putty-like fibrous connective tissue called fascia (fah sha). While the muscle fibers are the active elements that make the muscle move, it is the fascia that bunches up, and thereby accumulates and holds shortness and tightness in the body.

Chapter 2:  Fixing the First of 2 Basic Things That Go Wrong:

        Fascia bunches up from athletic and non-athletic physical activities and from emotional stress, falls, injuries and repetitive movement habits. Although your activities might be giving you strength and accomplishment, their negative side effect of bunching up fascia is simultaneously creating worse and worse limitations and restrictions. Even children and teenagers get it. This treatment removes these negative side effects and even improves your condition so it's better than it's been in years.
        Bunch-up also accumulates on our faces. They show the emotional tensions and stresses we've accumulated most of our lives. We often look and feel stressed, and old. Bunch-up even creates wrinkles. Emotional blockages to expressing our feelings, like anger and sadness, can also be seen. They create a lot of ongoing tension. And those feelings get stuck in the muscles of both the face and the body. This treatment clears up a lot of all this stuff.

Chapter 3: Why Stretching Alone Doesn't Correct
                    These Problems

        Stretching alone doesn't correct these problems for a few reasons: because of the hardness and other properties of the bunched-up tissue, and because of the way most stretching is done. However, stretching, including yoga, and the Bodywork are mutually supportive; doing each enables the other to do more.

Chapter 4: Creating Better Overall Ease
                    & Range-of-Movement
                    by Lengthening Interconnected Groups of Muscles

        Shortness and tightness are not, however, just local issues of individual muscles bunching up. There are many interconnections of muscle and fascia from one part of the body to others. Tight areas can only release easily and lengthen fully when all the interconnected areas are also lengthened, otherwise they will hold the area you’re trying to lengthen tight. This chapter describes a number of the more significant sets of interconnections and explains some general guidelines on how we approach "the interconnected body" in general.

Chapter 5: Preventing Injuries Before They Happen
                    with Structural Body Reading

        As an aid to our hands on manipulations, practitioners can actually see shortness and misalignment in the body, often before the person knows it's there him or herself. We're trained in Structural Body Reading. We can also see what part of an interconnected set of muscles is holding the rest tight. This guides us in doing more precise and efficient hands-on work. And we can take Polaroid photos to show you what we see and explain why we work in each part of your body. Body reading, including from videos of performance, is very helpful, because it can lengthen tightness that could cause an injury, before it happens.

Chapter 6: Fast & Deep Hamstring Lengthening &
                    Leg Loosening, to Create Better Mobility,
                    Remove Pain & Help Injuries

        This chapter describes the obvious and not so obvious causes of accumulated leg muscle shortness, what physical and even psychological problems they cause, and how the Bodywork can correct them. It explains how we can prevent injuries from happening and help heal them if they have. It indicates how the corrections improve an athlete's performance, an elderly or injured person's mobility, and a stressed or restricted person's relaxation and expressiveness. It gives information about which muscle tightness causes what kind of problems. So it can help body therapists of all kinds do a better job.

Chapter 7: Fast & Deep Arm & Shoulder Lengthening &
                    Loosening, to Create Better Flexibility &
                    Remove Pain

        This chapter points out how the arms are really part of a big body suit that fits over the torso and how arm bunch-up causes tightness throughout the torso as well as in the arms. This includes the arm bunch-up that most of us don't feel. The chapter describes a few ways the Bodywork helps arms and shoulders, and this, too, can be used by body therapists in their work.

Chapter 8: Increasing Torso Flexibility, Expanding Breathing
                   & Benefiting Our Nervous Systems

        The Bodywork can lengthen and loosen muscles a lot more than people imagine they can. When applied to the torso, it significantly increases flexibility and agility and increases the ease and volume of deep, full breathing, even for elite athletes and smokers. This much fuller breathing improves physiology in other ways besides increasing the amount of oxygen. It massages the internal organs, it activates the rejuvenating parasympathetic nervous system and it pumps cerebral spinal fluid to the brain. Here, again, are tips for the body therapist.


        This section describes the whole-body effects of Structural Integration. It takes the treatment beyond the level of therapy for any specific problem and shows us how we can systematically transform the whole body structure so it functions at a higher level.
       It also explains, in quite some detail, why many back, shoulder and neck problems are not due to local tightness or simply spinal misalignment, but rather to a total, systemic misalignment of the entire body's bones and muscles. It describes just how this treatment makes the improvements and corrects the pains, even down to what we do in each step of the sequential process. And it describes the increasing benefits we get as we go through the organized series of treatments.

Chapter 9: Fixing the Second of 2 Basic Things That Go Wrong:

         Accumulated shortness in the fascia creates misalignment in the joints. This decreases performance and can lead to injury. Further, because of shortness and improper movement habits, the body also develops significant misalignments in the whole structure, making our legs, torso, neck and head zig-zag front to back and side to side.

        These misalignments decrease athletic performance and even restrict the quality of everyday activity, and they use up body energy. Structural Integration Bodywork (and any stretching methods that take these conditions into account) correct these distortions in our structures. And body therapists can use this information about the whole body to expand on the localized treatments they already do.

Chapter 10: Improving Metabolism & Respiration,
                      & Faster Athletic Recovery Time

        By improving the consistency of the fascia and removing tightness, we also improve the metabolic properties of the fascia and both blood and lymph vessels. More nutrients can be carried to the cells and more waste products will be carried away from them at any time. This benefits athletes, people under stress, senior citizens, and improves general health. This physiological benefit, combined with the improved structural benefits, has repeatedly shown to increase endurance and significantly shorten recovery time for athletes of all ages.

Chapter 11: Fixing Backs, Shoulders, Necks & Heads
                      by Improving Structural Balance

        This chapter explains an almost universal misalignment, which I call the Basic Imbalance. And it explains how the many kinds of back, neck and shoulder problems we develop have their cause in this condition. In the Basic Imbalance, the legs lean forward, the torso backward, and the head and neck just forward again. It's a zig-zag.

         There are also three general variations of added tightness on top of it, and they cause other kinds of pain and difficulties. Neck and shoulder tensions also develop because of certain work habits and lower back pain can come directly from some athletics. Arm and head tension, even when it's not felt, can cause back tightness and pain. This chapter analyzes all these conditions and explains how the Bodywork can correct them. Like the other analyses in this book, this will help other body practitioners in their own work.

Chapter 12: Creating a Very Efficient and Stress Resistant
                      Body Structure

        If we take lengthening, aligning and integrating a step further than these explanations, we can see how to make the whole body work better, between all its parts and with relation to the constant force of gravity, both when we move and when we stand still. This condition works on the principle of balancing all the forces of tension, created by the muscle and fascia lengths, with the elements that resist that tension, the rigid bones.

        This is a system called tensegrity, which allows us great flexibility at the same time it provides great stability. This balanced kind of system also works like a well erected tent where our bones are the tent poles and the muscles and fascia are the guy ropes. A well balanced body lifts upward from its interaction with the force of gravity; it doesn't get pulled down nor feel heavy.

        All these features are built into our unique 2-legged structure, which has great advantages over 4-legged ones. The Structural Integration process brings out these qualities. They are inherent in our biology, but the way we grow up with all our shortnesses and misalignments keeps them from happening.

Chapter 13: The Increasing Benefits of
                      the 10-Step Bodywork "System"

        The basic Structural Integration process is a 10 to 20 hour program that is performed in a series of 10 steps, each of which treats a particular area, or muscle group. This series of sessions can take place over a two to four month period, but can also be condensed to under a month and even less.

         Right from the beginning, people feel looser and more relaxed, and some aches and pains go away completely. Others are reduced. As the process continues, the degrees of flexibility, relaxation, pain removal and performance enhancement become greater, as does the quantity and quality of energy in the body. As more of the interconnecting parts of the whole body become better organized, the whole body comes into better and better alignment. And the better aligned it is, the more it tends to stay that way. After the first 10 steps, advanced sessions can work deeper and do more.


        This section does three things. First, it gives you background information about how Structural Integration Bodywork was developed, where and how it is taught, and how well established it is. Second, it tells you how to locate practitioners and what to ask them about to find one who's right for you. Third, it describes, in detail, things you and the practitioner can do so you get more out of the treatment and enjoy it as much as possible. These are helpful hints for other Bodywork practitioners as well as clients.

Chapter 14: Where Did This Originate and
                      How Are Practitioners Trained?

        This chapter summarizes the major, and often unique benefits of this treatment, how they were developed and how and where they're taught. It puts the process I've described into its larger and well established context. Contrary to the initial guessing of many people, this treatment was not developed in the orient. It was developed by an American woman, a PhD physiologist and biochemist, who lived in Brooklyn, NYC, and also did research in countries around the world.

Chapter 15: My Own Training and Application of the Work

        If you know about me, my background and how I developed my specialties, it'll give you a professional context from which you can appreciate the information I've written in this book. What I say is based on my 2000 hours training and 15 years experience. It will also give you some ideas about what kind of background or experience in a practitioner you would want to look for, what kinds of questions you would ask, and how different practitioners could help you.

Chapter 16: How to Find and Check Out a Practitioner
                      (and Learn More)

        This chapter tells you some effective ways to find practitioners in your area, or whom you could travel to, and then gives a descriptive list of what to ask them about, including experience, specialties, lengths of sessions, house calls, fee structure, insurance coverage, discomforts from their work, if any, and so forth.

Chapter 17: How to Make Your Bodywork Treatment
                       Comfortable & Effective

        This is a very long chapter that gives you the benefit of my 15 years experience as both a practitioner and recipient. It goes into detail to include methods both you and the practitioner can use to: increase enjoyment, decrease pain, improve body awareness, enhance psychological development, and get the most effective physical release. This information is, of course, helpful for practitioners as well as clients.


         The first chapters in this section describe the differences between the Bodywork and other forms of body therapy. It points out how this treatment is different. Those methods are predominately muscle, bone and joint oriented, and locally focused in their approach. Structural Integration manipulates the fascia, and has a structural alignment approach. And because of what it does, the Bodywork is complementary to all the other treatments and enables them to do what they do better.
        The last two chapters describe how the Bodywork significantly improves personal development work: psychological therapy, self awareness and self expression...for performing artists and business people, for spiritual growth and for social interaction.

Chapter 18: How Structural Integration Bodywork is Different
                      from Massage and Trigger Point Therapy

        The major difference in correcting tightness is that massage and trigger point therapy release muscle fiber contractions and the Bodywork lengthens fascial shortness and corrects overall misalignment. Massage will also move accumulated blood and waste matter out of the muscle. And trigger point therapy is good at releasing reflex tightness, especially that caused by metabolic disturbance.

        Getting the Bodywork will help massage and trigger point therapy do more of what they're good at doing. Myo-fascial manipulation, while moving connective tissue, does not accomplish the alignment and organizational results that Structural Integration does, unless the practitioner is also trained in many of the same principles.

Chapter 19: How It's Compatible with Chiropractic,
                      and Increases Its Benefits

        Chiropractic and this Bodywork combine well together. The reasons they do, and a few ways to combine them are described. While many chiropractors use massage therapists in their offices to loosen tightness before they adjust, the Bodywork will create even more looseness and length, in both the back and the other, very important, interconnecting muscles of the arms, legs, head, chest, abdomen and pelvis. In general, Bodywork makes adjustments go in easier and last longer. More adjustments, that were jammed tight before, can also be made.

Chapter 20: How It's Different from Acupuncture, and
                      Increases Its Benefits

        Acupuncture and acupressure are parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine and also, Japanese systems of body therapy and medicine as well. In a few ways, these treatments have the ability to relax muscles, similar to some of the things massage and trigger point therapy do. But these, too, do not lengthen much fascia nor do they have Structural Integration and whole body alignment as a goal. Like other therapies that manipulate bones, muscles, blood & lymph flow, and energies, acupuncture and acupressure treatments do more after a person's had the Bodywork.

Chapter 21: How this Work Helps People Undergoing
                      Orthodox Western Medicine,
                       for Orthopedic and Other Surgery
                       and for Headaches, Colds
                       and Other Typical Ailments

Even in cases of protruding and partially disintegrated disks, the Bodywork can correct the pain, for a long time and even permanently, and eliminate the need for surgery. The same can be done for leg, shoulder, arm and other back problems, caused by significant shortness in the muscle bodies. This includes tendon and joint pain. When surgery is necessary, the Bodywork can help both before and after, because of its physiological as well as structural benefits. Bodywork also helps with common ailments like colds, headaches and abdominal organ problems due to tension.

Chapter 22: How SIB Helps Us Psychologically,
                      with a Brief Summary of Body Oriented
                       Psychotherapy Techniques

        Even just the removal of physical pain and tightness due to stress almost always improves a person's demeanor. However, psychological trauma also gets caught in our bodies, both by actually impressing the energies of the incidents into the "organic crystal" collagen fibers and by making our muscular structure held in and shortened.
        This physical condition, formed in the midst of the incidents, stays with us until it's changed. So no matter what we do mentally and verbally, we'll continue to experience a movie of the original upsetting events, both consciously and unconsciously, until it's removed. Besides mental memories, we carry the emotions and terror of these dramas around with us as components of our physical bodies and "crystallized" energy patterns.
        Bodywork improves both these conditions at the same time it improves the physical structure. Other verbal and breathing kinds of treatments enhance the benefits, and traditional psychotherapy can do a lot more because the person's no longer physically stuck.

Chapter 23: How SIB Helps Us Express Ourselves Better, and
                      Accomplish More in Our Work, Easier,
                      with a Brief Summary of
                      Movement Education Techniques

        Physical restrictions and tensions in our movement, speech, emoting and awareness abilities, limits the effectiveness of our expression. This affects newscasters, performing artists, business people, fine artists and interacting family members. Psychologically generated fears to expressiveness also cause problems. So do the hyper or excessive compensations we make.

        The Bodywork helps a lot to remove all of these limitations and distortions, in the same way it helps with psychological therapy and in removing stress. A person becomes more balanced, integrated, centered and open. Concentration and Insight Meditations, Body Awareness Techniques and Movement Education can teach us how to move and carry ourselves in more effective ways. They do more after we're transformed with the Bodywork because they can take advantage of our improved capabilities. This training will also improve many kinds of verbal expression, and reduce our accumulation of tension.


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